Gareth Southgate looking forward to three games at Wembley after EURO 2020 group draw

Saturday 30 Nov 2019
Gareth arrives for the EURO 2020 draw in Bucharest on Saturday evening
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Gareth Southgate says England can look forward to three high-level games at Wembley, following Saturday’s UEFA EURO 2020 draw.

The Three Lions found out that they’ll renew their rivalries with Croatia and Czech Republic, who have both been recent visitors to the national stadium.

And the fourth team making up the group will be one of the play-off winners, either Scotland, Norway, Israel or Serbia with that being decided next March.

“Well, I’m never sure what a good draw is, but obviously we’ve played at least two of the teams before,” laughed Southgate after the draw in Bucharest.

“For us to be playing at Wembley will be very special so we’re looking forward to the tournament.

Gareth with the EURO 2020 trophy and his fellow Group D coachs, Zlatko Dalic of Croatia and Jaroslav Silhavy of Czech Republic

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“It’s going to be a brilliant experience for our fans, our players, the public and we’re really looking forward to the experience.

“We saw what it was like in Russia two years ago. If we can play well and win games, the whole nation is gripped and that’s something very, very special.”

With regards the opponents, there are mixed memories of encounters with Croatia following on from the World Cup semi-final defeat against them before a thrilling victory at Wembley in the Nations League last November.

“They recovered really well in their group,” revealed Southgate.

“We know the quality of their midfield players, the likes Kovacic on the bench tells you the story, so that’s a really top level fixture.

The draw was made on Saturday evening in Bucharest, Romania

 

“Funnily enough, I had a picture with Davor Suker before and he said wanted to be in London so that’s interesting from their point of view.”

Czech Republic were more recent opposition, as the nations were together in Euro Qualifying with England kicking-off their campaign with a 5-0 win at Wembley in March only to lose the away fixture in Prague by 2-1 in October.

“We know we have to be on our game, because it won’t be like the first game at Wembley, that’s for sure,” he added.

“I think we learnt a lot from the game in Prague, we were very poor and they’ve definitely improved under a new coach who’s come in and had time to bed in and bring a couple of younger players into their squad.

“We have to see what the play-offs throw up, but we know from our point of view that game is at Wembley now and we can see that path and beyond there, let’s see what happens…

Raheem Sterling in action during the 5-0 win over Czech Republic at Wembley in March

“We’ve got to be confident in our own ability and take on whatever comes and I think other teams will be thinking the same as us.

“I think there are eight to ten top nations and if you look at the history of European Championships, there are so many different winners.

“A lot of teams prepare their squads for World Cups and then rebuild after World Cup, so the margins are really fine.

“With so many of our young players emerging – the team for the last two qualifiers was very young – we’ve got to make sure we get that balance right.

“But I think everyone can see that we’re a team which can keep improving.

“We have to accept expectations have changed from where we were. We know we’ve a lot to improve upon, and the team are critical of themselves.”

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By Nicholas Veevers